How to Pick the Right Summer Camp for Kids

Summer camps give kids an opportunity to experience independence, learn skills, and form lifelong memories. With so many options out there, it can feel overwhelming trying to choose the right one. Choosing a summer camp depends on what your kid wants to do, but also how it fits your expectations and budget.

Take advantage of these easy tips to make picking, booking, and sending your kids to camp an enjoyable experience for everyone.

Step 1: Identifying wants

Choosing a camp begins with knowing what your child is interested in, and what you hope they will gain from it.

Day camps are ideal for little campers who are not ready for the commitment of a sleepaway camp but still want a quintessential summer experience. While sleepaway camps are great for older kids and are a great way to teach them independence.

Consider whether they would be better suited to a traditional or specialty camp. A traditional camp offers several activities, such as archery, hiking, crafts, campfires, and team building. Camps with a focus on a specific subject, such as theater, sports, or bands, provide opportunities for short-term development and experience.

Step 2: Identifying Needs

Camp can get expensive! It’s up to parents to decide how much money they can allocate to summer camp programs. For traditional camps, overnight fees range from $50 to more than $300 a day, and day camps range from under $25 to $150 a day according to the American Camp Association. If you’re considering sending your child to a specialty camp, expect to pay tuition starting around $200 per week, though many are much more expensive.

If you want your child to experience summer camp, but are having trouble finding the funds, check out this article on how to afford summer camp to learn about the different scholarships you can apply for.

Step 3: Research

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is a typical day at camp like?
  • What is the staff-to-camper ratio?
  • What training does the staff have?
  • How are the staff screened and selected?
  • What are the sleeping arrangements?
  • What is the food like?
  • Is there financial support available?
  • If any, what fees/costs are extra?

These are all key questions that will help you decide if a particular camp might be right for your child.

Step 4: Apply Early

Many camps offer early registration discounts. Take advantage of as many discounts as possible, and make sure to read up on the camps’ cancellation and refund policy in case you have to make any changes.

Check Out Camp Xpressions

Did you know that the Youth Life Center offers our own Summer Performing Arts Program? Camp Xpressions is an innovative, interactive experience that campers won’t soon forget. Register today to attend one of our 3-week sessions. Check out our orientation to find out how to register.

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